We’re always connected: Iphones, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and even those dreaded land lines! Our calendars are filled with back to back meetings, project updates, client calls, team building, training, birthday celebrations.
Those occasional “drive by” conversations can also throw our day off track, but the value of relationship building can never be underestimated when a spontaneous conversation yields something productive!
So, how do you do it all? Competing priorities, both at work and home, often make it difficult to take time for yourself, especially while at work. I learned years ago that, as a leader, I could not do everything and everything could not be a priority. In fact, making time for myself would be one key to success as I continued to grow as a leader and client consultant.
A while back, my mentor suggested that I manage my “me time” just as I would any other business transaction: schedule regular appointments each week. Define your goals for that time: what you will do, what you want to accomplish, and what your next steps will be.
Here’s how I use my personal appointment time:
1. Schedule two standing appointments each week. My Monday morning appointment is non-negotiable even if it means I have to move it from 8am to 6am. It’s my “quiet” time to fully review the previous week, prepare for my current week and look out several weeks (and months) to see what’s coming and how I need to be preparing for it now. I also schedule a “rolling” hour each week where I can use “quiet” time to catch up on industry and professional news, schedule my writing and publishing deadlines, make calls to colleagues to “pick their ear” on a topic, or participate in a web-conference or event.
2. Block out time – literally create an appointment – in your calendar and label it “busy.” I have a very strong “open door” policy, but these appointments are times when I literally close the door or find a place where I cannot be disturbed. And when the phone rings….don’t answer it. When that text message bings….don’t pick it up. If it’s that important, they’ll leave a message.
3. Encourage your team or others you work with to do the same. It may seem strange to a few people, but once they get into the habit, the value becomes very clear. You’re better organized, more creative, more engaged and, yes, more energized about what you do.
One more thing: I make time each week to connect, collaborate and create with all of you!
Until next time…